Nurburgring lap records set by SUVs are nothing new. In fact, if we rewind to the year 2000, we find multi-discipline racer Hans-Joachim Stuck grabbing such an accolade behind the wheel of the BMW X5 LM, a concept whose carbon hood concealed nothing less than a V12 engine that had brought BMW a Le Mans year for the previous year. These days BMW is back at the Ring with an upcoming super-SUV that packs about the same power as the said LM monster, namely the 2023 BMW XM production model.
Previewed by the XM Concept released last year, this will be the Motorsport division’s first standalone car since the mid-engined M1 of the late 1970s, which sounds like yet another strong point for the high-rider.
However, few BMWs will split opinions like the 2023 XM and, as you all know, recent times have seen quite a few Bavarian machines fueling debates.
For starters, if you’re not a fan of the marque’s tendency to boost the size of its kidney grille to previously unimaginable dimensions, you’ll probably have a hard time palleting the XM. In fact, the entire design of the concept arguably falls within these lines.
Interestingly, while the said concept was a near-production effort, the example currently testing on the Ring is covered in heavy camo. And while the latter awaits you in the first clip below (lens tip to Car Spy Media), the second vid sees Domagoj Dukec, Head of BMW Design, and Frank van Meel, CEO of BMW M, introducing the show car.
And, to end the design part of the story, we’ll remind you that the recently-released mid-cycle revamp of the X7, the seven-seater model that packs similar dimensions to the XM, borrows quite a few visual tricks from the concept.
The 2023 XM is a plug-in hybrid
The yellow sticker adorning the test car confirms the fact that we’re dealing with an electrified offering. And that’s because the first-ever BMW M SUV will be a plug-in hybrid.
Packing the German automaker M-made 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 assisted by an electric motor, the high-rider will offer 750 hp and 738 lb-ft (1,000 Nm), which should allow it to prove its mettle in the ever-more-crowded super-SUV segment—all-electric models like the Lotus’ new Eletre included.
For the record, the German automaker’s most potent SUVs to date, the X5, and X6 M Competition, pack 617 hp, albeit without any electric assistance.
No details about the size of the battery have been provided, but we do know the 2023 XM is set to offer an EV-only range of around 30 miles (50 km).
Set to be built at BMW’s Spartanburg plant in South Carolina, the newcomer should debut within the next few months. And, despite its weight and size, the M Division should, at least in theory, gift the vehicle with attributes that provide impressive handling for the segment.
And we’d better get used to these hybrid Ms, as many more will land in the following years, with the recently-spied next-gen M5 being an example as good as any (hey, it’s got a spicy soundtrack).